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Communities urged to take stand against bullying

It takes a community to prevent bullying of children.

The third annual National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week, October 5-11, encourages communities nationwide to work together to increase awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on all children.

The week is sponsored by PACER Center's National Center for Bullying Prevention and cosponsored by the American Federation for Teachers, National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education, National Education Association, National PTA, and School Social Work Association of America.

Families, students, schools, organizations and other groups can unite and partner with PACER to prevent bullying by contacting bullying411@PACER.org.

Partnering organizations are asked to share their bullying prevention activities and will be listed as a link on PACER's bullying prevention Web site.

Groups can work to stop bullying in several ways. Activities and materials such as contests, toolkits, and online bullying prevention training are available on PACER.org and the interactive Web site for elementary school students PACERKidsAgainstBullying.org to help reduce bullying in schools, recreational programs, and community organizations.

Materials will also be available on a soon-to-be launched Web site for middle and high school students. The new site is an interactive, animated resource offering teenagers tools to prevent bullying. Video role plays and discussions, bullying scripts that students can perform, links to hand-outs and statistics, student stories and videos developed by students provide information in a teen-friendly way.

"When 160,000 children in the United States miss school each day as a result of being bullied, it's time to take action," said Paula F. Goldberg, executive director of PACER, a national parent center located in Minnesota. "Teachers, parents, students and adults throughout each community must work together to create a climate that doesn't accept bullying. When bullying is reduced, communities will see more students with higher self-esteem, better school attendance, less physical and mental stress and better school performance."

PACER Center's Bullying Prevention Project is for all children, including children with disabilities.

It promotes bullying awareness and teaches effective ways to respond to bullying. PACER Center primarily serves families of children and youth with disabilities.

It provides resources such as publications, workshops, and individualized assistance and helps families make decisions about education, vocational training, employment, and other services for their child.

Its primary Web site is PACER.org, its phone numbers are (952) 838-9000; 1-800-53-PACER (Minnesota toll free); and 1-888-248-0822 (national toll free).

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